East Anglia: Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk to forge closer links with Chinese province of Jiangsu

Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk are aiming to strengthen their partnership with the Chinese province of J

Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk are aiming to strengthen their partnership with the Chinese province of Jiangsu. - Credit: Archant

A top Chinese politician is due in Essex today on a visit which aims to increase trade, education and cultural links between the province of Jiangsu and the East of England.

The governor of Jiangsu, Li Xueyong, whose role is the equivalent to the Mayor of London, is leading a delegation on a trip to England which includes a key meeting in Essex.

Essex County Council and Jiangsu are this year celebrating 25 years of working together, with Suffolk and Norfolk county councils having also become involved in the partnership in recent years.

The leaders of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk county council’s will all be taking part in the event, which is to be held at County Hall in Chelmsford and marks the launch of a new joint committee to cement and strengthen links between Jiangsu and the East of England.

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “This visit is testament to the value that Jiangsu puts on the relationship with Essex and the rest of the East of England.

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“It is a fitting end to a week of visits around the county by cabinet members as part of our Essex Means Business campaign. Our links with Jiangsu, have already resulted in an economic boost to Essex of over £10million and this looks set to grow.”

Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader, said: “This visit will strengthen the links between Jiangsu and the wider East of England.

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“Working with Essex to use the expertise that they have built over their 25 year relationship with Jiangsu has been a great way for us to build links with Chinese businesses. So far we have hosted a number of delegations including ones from the tourism, ICT and manufacturing sectors.

“The East of England-Jiangsu Joint Committee Agreement is a great example of cross-border working between ourselves in Suffolk and our colleagues in Essex, Norfolk and China. I look forward to meeting with the governor from Jiangsu and welcome the opportunity to further develop our working relationship with the province.”

George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, added: “This important visit is a continuation of the cooperative work between Norfolk County Council and partners in the East of England and the Jiangsu province in China.

“Whether trade and investment, education, culture, or tourism, the partnership with Jiangsu offers great benefits to this area, but most of all I welcome this meeting as another step in the friendship between the people of China and East Anglia.”

The inaugural meeting of the East of England-Jiangsu Joint Committee is scheduled for 4pm today. Mr Finch will welcome the Chinese delegation, including Mr Li, and Mr Bee and Mr Nobss will also speak.

Mr Finch and Mr Li are then due to sign the East of England-Jiangsu Joint Committee Agreement, after which Peter Manning, head of Essex International, and Fei Shaoyun, director general of Jiangsu Foreign Affairs Office, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the inaugural joint committee meeting.

Mr Li will then visit the Jiangsu Economic and Trade Representative in Essex, Fan Zhigang, in his office in County Hall.

The aim of the of the joint committee is to facilitate strategic, co-ordinated and long-term co-operation between the East of England and Jiangsu in different areas including trade and investment, education, culture and tourism.

The committee will meet annually, alternatively in Essex and Jiangsu, to review existing projects, pinpoint key areas of work for the next phase and examine and approve new co-operative initiatives.

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